A Pakistani man has been arrested by the UK police for breaking into a gurdwara in eastern England. Guru Arjan Gurdwara on Stanhope Street in Derbyshire reported a break-in to Derbyshire Police after its front doors were found smashed in the early hours of Monday morning.
NDTV reported that he left a note mentioning Kashmir on the walls: “Try to help Kashmir people otherwise problem everyone,” the message read.
“This is an area with a multicultural community, where all have lived and worked together for many years. Especially during these times, faith-based charities have been at the forefront. This incident nor this message will create any tension between relations, but how you react to this will,” the gurudwara said in a Facebook post, PTI reported.
Urging for calm, the gurudwara said an individual or a small group was probably behind the incident. “We should not malign the whole Muslim community and therefore request people to refrain from such posts,” it added.
According to local media reports, police believe the break-in is linked to a stabbing nearby on Normanton Road. In the incident, a 41-year-old man was found unconscious with stab wounds after he was attacked in Polanica Polish delicatessen, a food outlet. The man arrested in relation to the deli incident is now believed to have been arrested on suspicion of burglary in relation to the temple break-in.
Local police said they do not believe anyone else was involved in the incidents but that investigation remains ongoing, ‘Derbyshire Live’ reported. Derbyshire Police Superintendent Gareth Meadows said: “I would like to thank the Sikh community and the local people in Normanton for their assistance with our enquiries.”
“Our officers remain in the area. If you have any information in relation to these two incidents please speak to the officers or contact us using the methods stated,” he said.
British Sikh parliamentarian, Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, said in a Twitter statement: “Very sad to see an attack on any place of worship. Thoughts are with the Derby sangat who have been providing 500 meals a day from Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara.”
Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara, Derby attacked/vandalised this morning . Same Gurdwara produces 500 meals daily for the community during lockdown. @RobertJenrick @team_greenhalgh Our focus should be tackling #hatecrime and reopening. Usually the Gurdwara would be busy with Sangat. pic.twitter.com/1ogQKZ74MN— Sikh Council UK (@SCUKofficial) May 25, 2020
Local Derby city councillor Baggy Shanker, who is a member of the gurdwara, described the attack as “cowardly”. He said: “The police need to act promptly to deal with this individual and bring him to justice. Derby’s communities have a very long and good understanding of each other’s values and share the utmost respect for people’s beliefs.”
“This isolated issue is not any reflection on that and must be treated with firmly and quickly,” Shanker said.